The Weakest Link – my Low Back


The good thing about the current Coronavirus Covid-19 lockdown is that I have a hundred projects to finish.  Suddenly I have nothing but time to do it all.

Everything was going along swimmingly yesterday. I exercised. I painted (spray-painted picture frames), I picked up dog poop. I did a heavy load of laundry.  I rearranged three shelves and a couple of chairs. I was on a roll.

Then I bent down one more time and got the familiar zing in my low back.  It is always potentially there, but I can keep it tamed with regular exercise, hot baths, and a massage every other week.

The massages have gone out the window, along with everything else from my normal ex-life.  The tinnitus is crazy loud (ringing in the ears), and my left hand cramps up on occasion or goes numb. This means my neck is unhappy, which makes my back unhappy, which makes my feet unhappy, or vice versa.

I changed up my shoes yesterday after wearing the same pair for weeks. No outings equals no dress boots, no cute shoes, just the old tennis shoes every day, day after day, week after week. I am now paying the price.

This morning, getting out of bed – dizzy.

Walking to the kitchen – lightheaded.

Bending down to get the dog bowl — zing.

Carefully bending down to get the other dog bowl — twinge.

Oh, boy. No dog walks today. No exercise video with Joe.

Just me, the Sunday Chronicle and a book or two, and my recliner, with extra lumbar support, in the form of a small pillow.

Crap! I need to go out to get the newspaper.

I carefully take a shower, wash my hair, get dressed, tie on my old shoes, get in the car and drive to the newspaper machine in front of the liquor store. It’s 9:15, and I can see through the glass that there’s only one copy left.

I scrape together $3.00 worth of change from the bottom of the cup holder, carefully get out of the car, and plug the machine with mostly dimes to get the last newspaper.

A man walks up.

“What paper is that?” he demands.

“The Chronicle,” I say through my face mask. “Sorry.”

With that, I should’ve left.

But then I say, “You can get it at Lucky’s or Safeway.”

Do you know how far of a walk that would be?” the man yells.

“Sorry,” I say again, clutching the paper to my chest.

I get in the car.

I should’ve let him have it.

But no, even handing it to him would’ve been risky. Plus, then I would’ve had to go to Lucky or Safeway.

I use my low back as an excuse while I rationalize to myself why I shouldn’t feel guilty about not giving him the paper.

You know what? If the roles would’ve been reversed, he wouldn’t have given it to me.

Because I wouldn’t have said anything. I would’ve conceded that I was too late.

The world continues to be strange and surreal. I miss the old normal.

I get home and get out of the car — twinge.

It reminds me that, even through this historic lockdown, because of a pandemic the world has not seen in over 100 years, some things in life never change.

Back pain.

As reliable as an intimidating man trying to bully a woman out of her Sunday Chronicle.

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